Accepted Papers:

Social technologies for transformative and inclusive innovation: examples from the medical device sector  


Rebecca Hanlin (African Centre for Technology Studies)
Dinar Kale (The Open University)

Paper Short Abstract:

Inclusive innovation and social innovation concepts are insufficient given the paradigm shift recognising the need for transformative change in international development. This paper contends that the social technologies concept enables movement from inclusive to transformative innovation policy.

Paper long abstract:

Inclusive innovation is predominately outcome focused in orientation. On the other hand, social innovation explicitly recognises the importance of both inclusivity in outcome and process of innovation activities. However, increasingly practitioners and academics from both fields of study recognise that there is a continuum of innovation activities which move from being less inclusive to more inclusive. At the top of the spectrum - and the desired state - is system wide, paradigm shifting transformative change which places the excluded at the forefront of debates and normalises such debates. This paper argues that more emphasis is needed on social technologies or the way 'work is divided and coordinated' if this desired state is to be achieved. It hypotheses that building social technologies across the continuum builds competences and system making connections that can create the environment for the desired state to be achieved. It uses evidence of four case studies from the medical devices sector in Kenya and India to investigate this. Preliminary analysis of the case studies show that it is virtually impossible for full inclusivity to be achieved (there are always losers). This raises planning and oversight questions with regards to (a) how innovation work is divided and coordinated in order to bring maximum benefit to all and (b) who should be involved. This has implications for an allied debate within the international development community on the role of targeted transformative innovation policy and directive policy instruments. Specifically, criteria for targeting policy efforts.

Panel B1
Inclusive innovation for development: what inclusion for a fairer future?